Monday, June 30, 2014

Challenge Create: A Patriotic Ensemble

I’m so excited to share with you today for Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition! 

About the fabric I sent:
A couple of years ago Sew Mama Sew’s shop closed, and fabric was offered at a steep discount. I snagged some Amy Butler fabric that I adored, but when I sewed through my stash last year, that beautiful fabric lingered. Finally I’d decided to make it into a big sun hat. However, when I was invited to be a part of Challenge Create, I knew immediately I’d send it off to someone else.

Still I was stuck on the hat idea, so I still planned to make a hat with whatever red, white, and/or blue fabric I received. Then this arrived from Amy and Tasha:



It took me a while to get over my mental block (HAT! HAT! HAT!) and come up with something new, but once I did, the vision was pretty solid. Inspired by photos on my Pinterest board, I knew this beautiful floral fabric would make a lovely smocked popover top. And I’ve had my eye on denim with tiny hearts; Eliza needed a pair of denim shorts, and I knew she’s love the little hearts! I was right — she loves them!


For the tunic, I started with the free Oliver + S Popover dress. I added 14” to the center of the top to allow for pleating (I wanted it super full) and shortened it to tunic length. Then I pleated it and got to work smocking. 

I used Ellen McCarn's "April" smocking plate for the design. This was only my second time smocking a substantial piece, so it took for-ev-ah! But I feel like the concept of smocking "clicked" for me this time, and I'm already looking forward to my next smocking project.

For the smocking, I used solid blue thread because I felt it would stand out more against the busy patterned fabric. (Instead of whipstitching the neck binding, I edgestitched it for a couple of reasons: my patience wore thin from so much hand work and my time was running very short.) I've still got a lot to learn about the art, but overall I'm pleased with the result. 




To finish the tunic, I added eyelet to the bottom of the hem.



The shorts are made using the free Oliver + S Sunny Days shorts. Using the front and pocket pieces from the Blank Slate Patterns Clean Slate Pants, I added pockets lined with the third fabric I received. 


This outfit fits her perfectly! She likes it, too, which is always a plus. It’ll be great for heading down to the river to watch fireworks and picnic for Independence Day. 

Thanks for having me, ladies, and thanks Amy and Tasha for the fabric!

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful outfit! I love the smocking!

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  2. Love your combination of fabrics and trim, and I especially love the smocking! Your daughter is adorable! Happy 4th!

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  3. Oh, and do you have a pleater or did you pleat it by hand? I took a smocking class and the instructor had a pleater. So fun but quite expensive!

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    1. I have a pleater. It's a READ 24-row pleater that I bought several years ago. I definitely have not come close to justifying the expense, but it's something I plan to keep forever. I'd love to take a smocking class! Everything I've learned has been from a Martha Pullen DVD and YouTube. (Lots and lots of trial and error.)

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  4. Dear Martini,
    thank you so much for sharing your inspiration for The Independence Day outfit. I too thought of making the Popover into a tunic - mainly because it would solve the problems of not enough corduroy left over to make a full popover. I would love to know how/where you decided the length of the tunic. As i don't have easy access to the small girls that I sew for, I would really appreciate some guidance. Thank you very much for the info about making the popover so deliciously full. The whole outfit is delightful. Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you! I used another tunic as a guide for the length. I wanted it to hit about hip length, and I knew adding extra eyelet lace would help lengthen it, too.

      Good luck!

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  5. I would love to make this!! Did you add 14 inches on both front and back of the pattern or 7 inches in front and 7 inches in the back? Also, did you angle your pattern as you went to the bottom or just carry it straight out 7-14 inches down? Thank you!! ☺️

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    1. I added 14 inches to both the front and back -- in the center at the fold. I didn't change the arm hole curve or angle of the side seam. Thanks for asking!

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  6. Thank you Michelle; I love the Popover, and your idea has sparked my imagination.

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  7. Oliver + S designer Liesl Gibson will be teaching several sewing classes in Orlando, Florida this September. The sewing weekend is called Classics With a Twist and includes a learn to smock class. Information can be found on www.smocking.org. The weekend is sponsored by the Smocking Arts Guild of America.

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